A home of their own

Henrico mother, son move into renovated house
On the sweltering afternoon of July 7, Lachesia Turner and her son went home – for the first time.

During a dedication ceremony on Reynolds Road in Eastern Henrico, Turner and her son, Corion, celebrated the completion of their new home – the third built locally as part of the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

The project was set forth by Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity (RMHFH), in partnership with Dominion and the Dominion Foundation, in an effort to restore and revamp homes to increase their environmental sustainability.

Previously, the Turners were living in an unsafe area; they frequently heard gunshots, and one day Corion found a gun in the bushes outside their apartment. In an attempt to improve both their lives, Lachesia Turner submitted an application through Habitat for Humanity for the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project.

Upon being selected to receive a new home, Turner had to commit to completing 350 hours of sweat equity. At the end of the seven-month building period, Turner had clocked more than 359 hours. “She truly embodies the willingness to partner,” said Lynda Barone, RMHFH Director of Family Services.

The project required a tremendous amount of time and effort. It began in December and was made possible thanks to more than 200 Dominion volunteers. A $70,000 grant and additional Habitat for Humanity funds were used to rehabilitate the home and ensure its environmental sustainability.

While the house may resemble an average suburban residence, it is actually anything but ordinary. It is equipped with solar hot water and radiant heat, which heats the home using special tubing and heated water below the wooden floors.

This process alone will save the Turners approximately 50 percent on energy bills. Low flush toilets have also been installed; according to the Federal Energy Management Program, upgrading to one of these water-conserving toilets can reduce the average person’s water use from 27,300 gallons to 12,500 gallons.

This home has also been insulated with increased R-value insulation. An R-value is the measurement of thermal resistance used in the construction industry: the higher the R-value, the more effective the building’s insulation. Better insulation translates to drastically reduced heating and cooling costs.

The laminate floors are environmentally friendly due to their durability and the fact that they have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – harmful and unstable compounds that are released into the air over time. The paints used on the house also have low VOC emission levels, which will minimize these environmental toxins.

“Environmentally compatible processes like these are important because they set a good example for other home owners,” said Mary Doswell, Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions senior vice president.

When asked how Habitat for Humanity and Dominion got started with the Alternative Energy Rehabilitation Project, Doswell’s reasoning was very straightforward: “We love to do things in the community that will bring about long lasting, important results.”

A brand new, environmentally sustainable home certainly qualifies as “long lasting” and “important” to the Turner family.

“This is the best day ever,” said Lachesia. “It’s a huge change – like moving from someplace good to someplace better.”
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